- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2011

A D.C. police officer fired as a result of a complaint brought by a campaign consultant turned political appointee for Mayor Vincent C. Gray has appealed her termination and asked that Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier recuse herself from the case because of her “close” relationship with the complainant.

Veteran Metropolitan Police Officer Micheaux Bishop, in her appeal, said Chief Lanier’s subordinates committed a “veritable cornucopia of due process violations” in firing her to uphold a complaint by Cherita Whiting that the officer was dating a drug dealer, including pressuring a trial board to introduce new evidence, adding a charge and reversing a decision after the hearing ended.

Ms. Bishop’s attorney, James Pressler, wrote that there was no doubt Ms. Whiting’s influence with the police department was “the driving force behind this prosecution.”

Ms. Whiting, who campaigned fiercely against incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, was appointed by Mr. Gray after his election as a “special assistant” at the Department of Parks and Recreation in spite of her recent admission to The Washington Times that she failed to disclose a 2001 felony conviction on her D.C. job applications.

A former Advisory Neighborhood Commission member, Ms. Whiting has boasted of close ties to numerous D.C. officials, including Mr. Gray, Chief Lanier and former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

“The question logically arises whether as Chief of Police you knew, or should have known, during your lengthy and ongoing relationship with Cherita Whiting, that Ms. Whiting had felony convictions for serious crimes, and whether that renders Officer Bishop’s relationship no different or worse than your association with Ms. Whiting,” Mr. Pressler wrote to Chief Lanier on March 4.

The chief denied having any special relationship with Ms. Whiting or knowing about her felony record. Reached at her D.C. office, Ms. Whiting declined to comment.

Ms. Rhee described Ms. Whiting as a “vocal parent and devout critic” of the city’s school reform efforts, but said she didn’t know much about her and “didn’t know her personally.” Mr. Gray’s office said there was “no relationship between the mayor and Ms. Whiting.”

Ms. Whiting’s influence with the Metropolitan Police Department is outlined in an Oct. 11, 2009, email she sent to Chief Lanier after noticing a news release on the indictments and arrests of 11 people charged with distributing crack cocaine, heroin and PCP. The email, released by police as a part of Ms. Bishop’s personnel case, told the chief that the article was about “Omar Bowman from our neighborhood — His girlfriend is one of your officers. His mother just told me he is staying at your officer’s house.”

Bowman later was convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Ms. Whiting’s email, which sparked an exchange with Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chiefs Diane Groomes and Michael Anzallo, said Ms. Bishop “just bought a huge house back in July.” Two days later, members of the Safe Streets Task Force interviewed Ms. Bishop to explore a suspected romantic link with Bowman, according to an internal affairs investigative report.

The following day, the FBI interviewed Ms. Bishop, although the internal affairs report said agents concluded she was neither a “person of interest nor a target in their investigation.” After learning of Bowman’s indictment, the report said, Ms. Bishop cooperated fully with the FBI and the Metropolitan Police.

Property records show that Ms. Bishop purchased her home on a short sale and financed it through a registered finance company.

Chief Groomes and Chief Anzallo did not return calls for comment.

Had their doubts

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